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Journal of the Optical Society of America A

Journal of the Optical Society of America A


  • Editor: Franco Gori
  • Vol. 27, Iss. 2 — Feb. 1, 2010
  • pp: 295–302

Realistic modeling of the illumination point spread function in confocal scanning optical microscopy

Michael J. Nasse and Jörg C. Woehl  »View Author Affiliations

JOSA A, Vol. 27, Issue 2, pp. 295-302 (2010)

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In this paper we present a rigorous and general theoretical model for the illumination point spread function of a confocal microscope that correctly reproduces the optical setup. The model uses vectorial theory and assumes that monochromatic light with a Gaussian intensity distribution (such as from a laser or a single-mode fiber) is focused by a microscope objective with high numerical aperture and passes through stratified media on its way to the sample. This covers the important practical case of illumination through up to three layers, which is the situation most commonly encountered in biological microscopy (immersion oil, glass coverslip, aqueous sample medium). It also accounts for objectives that are corrected for a certain coverslip thickness and refractive index but operated under non-design conditions. Furthermore, illumination with linearly, circularly, or elliptically polarized light is covered by introducing a Babinet–Soleil compensator into the beam path. The model leads to a set of analytical equations that are readily evaluated. Two-dimensional intensity distributions for particular cases of interest are presented and discussed.

© 2010 Optical Society of America

OCIS Codes
(050.1960) Diffraction and gratings : Diffraction theory
(180.0180) Microscopy : Microscopy
(180.1790) Microscopy : Confocal microscopy
(260.0260) Physical optics : Physical optics

ToC Category:

Original Manuscript: June 22, 2009
Revised Manuscript: November 30, 2009
Manuscript Accepted: December 2, 2009
Published: January 25, 2010

Virtual Issues
Vol. 5, Iss. 4 Virtual Journal for Biomedical Optics
February 11, 2010 Spotlight on Optics

Michael J. Nasse and Jörg C. Woehl, "Realistic modeling of the illumination point spread function in confocal scanning optical microscopy," J. Opt. Soc. Am. A 27, 295-302 (2010)

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  24. Furthermore, there is a square missing in this reference: the I1 term of Eq. should read ...+4|I1|2cos2ϕ+....
  25. There is a misprint in this reference: after Eq. (32) it should read β=k2|h1−h2|cosθ2.

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